Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Story of the Necklace

I wrote this story in January of this year. I thought I'd pass it along. Hope you enjoy it.

A lovely thing happened to me at work today. A co-worker handed me a present that came with a story. And I'll always accept a present in good faith and never pass up a story. The gift was a very pretty necklace.

Let me back track. My co-worker was wearing this very necklace yesterday at work. I jokingly commented that she needed to stop wearing such nice jewelry otherwise I would be forced to borrow it from her some time. With that she immediately took off the necklace and asked if I wanted it. No, I said. It's beautiful but I'm not serious about taking it. She told me to take it but I insisted that she put it back on because it was her necklace and I would never take it from her. She reluctantly put it back on her neck.

This morning when I got to work my co-worker approached me and handed me a small green bag. She simply said, " I want you to have this and I will tell you why." I opened the bag a little confused not understanding why she was giving me something, and on her birthday!

Inside was the pretty necklace I had complimented her on the day before. No, I said, I cannot take this from you! I was now embarrassed. "Wait", she she,"before you say another word I want you to listen to me. I gave this necklace to my sister years ago and when she died my niece gave it to me. I was always very sad wearing it but when I saw how happy it made you to see it I thought I would give it to you. Please take it. It would make me happy to know that this necklace will make someone else happy to wear it." I became teary eyed and thanked her. I removed the necklace I was wearing and put  the new one on. I hugged and thanked her for her generosity and thoughtfulness.

The story of the necklace made it around the building throughout the day. I was complimented on the necklace and told that what I was wearing must have been a sign of what I would be getting because the clothes and the colors on the necklace were meant to be worn together.

I came home, put the flame on under the water for coffee and came to my laptop to do a little writing. As I was about to begin writing the phone rang. I didn't recognize the number on the caller i.d. and since the kids weren't home, I picked up the receiver. It was an elderly woman I  met years ago in a doctor's office and haven't spoken to in just as many. She found my number and wanted to chat to see how I was (how in the world would she even remember me?! I certainly had a hell of a time recalling who she was for several minutes!).

We made niceties and in the course of the conversation I brought up the story about the necklace ( seriously, what else could I have spoken to this woman about?). I said how kind it was of my co-worker to think enough of me to give me this lovely piece of jewelry. When I was finished with my story (aside from strange, it was such an awkward conversation) she said, "Well, I don't want to be negative because this co-worker of yours meant well when she gave you this necklace, but she shouldn't have. She should just let her sister rest in peace. She's inheaven now. Your co-worker shouldn't have put this burden on you." Needless to say I was dumbfounded. By divine intervention this woman, who must have been waiting for someone to get her from wherever she was, said that she had to go and that she would keep in touch (oh, I hope not!). With that we ended the conversation.

She put the burden on me??!! Listen, I can do superstition just as well as the next guy, but it never dawned on me that I was taking on someone else's burden by accepting a necklace by the original giver who eventually became the receiver when the recipient died. Did you get that? Ok, good because it was a mouthful!

I accepted the gift graciously because it was given to me with all the best intentions ( is it true that the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Well, even if it is I don't believe in hell, anyway!). My co-worker believes that it was something she gave her sister with love in her heart and when her sister died, her niece returned the necklace, also with good intentions. And I in turn believe the same. So why ruin a good deed with a curse?

I'm happy to say that I have worn this necklace several times since receiving it and have been complimented on it by someone every time, even total strangers.